Opinion & Analysis

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Lauren Williams's picture

How to prepare urban children for success in the 21st century

Real success will require that we prepare the next generation for global citizenship, which means broadening students’ perspectives, deepening their cultural and linguistic capacities, and heightening awareness of the larger issues that will affect their lives.

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Pa. Senate's stab at property tax reform isn't fooling anyone

Getting spending under control is the first step of meaningful change for property taxpayers, and pension reform is a big part of that. Until the Legislature shows the courage to put pensions on a sustainable path and tackles the school funding formula, all reform talk is idle talk.

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Florida violating class-size limits rules

Elected officials should properly fund schools so that they can meet constitutional rules for class size. Teachers say that failure to follow the law makes it more difficult to reach and teach all students. They are concerned about the safety of their students and they say the larger class sizes lead to more misbehavior and inappropriate student interaction.

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Teacher pensions still need reforming

Two years ago, the Michigan Legislature had the opportunity to turn around the state's fragile retirement system for public school employees. But lawmakers stopped short of making meaningful reform that would fix the system for good. A new push to revisit teacher pensions deserves attention.

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Bill to end ban on bilingual education hurts immigrant kids

A new bill passed by the California Legislature undermines all the gains made during the past two decades in educating children who start school without a full knowledge of the English language. The measure places a question on the November 2016 ballot that gives parents the choice to enroll their child in bilingual education.

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State school board battle over new Texas textbooks

Texas has not approved new history textbooks for school districts to purchase since 2002. But some of the books under consideration by the state school board are being described as propaganda that exaggerates the influence of Christian values while others are said to be full of liberal bias.

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Nevada’s school rating system needs toughening

Coming to terms with the poor performance of Nevada’s school system has been an education for policymakers, elected officials, business leaders and taxpayers alike. Although the state’s high school graduation rates and the value of high school diplomas rate among the nation’s worst overall, Nevada has many excellent schools with excellent teachers, leaders and education models.

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Long-term solution needed for small schools in Indiana

One of the state's smallest school corporations, Union School Corp., needs to think big if it's to act in the best interest of its students and taxpayers with only two to three years of funds left. The dilemma facing Union is, or will soon be, faced by other school corporations in Indiana. Union might be the first domino to fall but the course it charts will be watched closely.

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Better critical thinking through philosophy

There is a deeper crisis in American education that cannot be solved by better curriculum or more demanding tests. More and more high school graduates lack fundamental critical thinking skills: Without explicit instruction they are unable to identify a problem, formulate a question and offer a solution.

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New York tax exemption may cost too much

It is rewarding to give a tax break to those who deserve it. It is not such an easy decision when giving that break means a higher tax rate for people who are already struggling to pay their bills. By allowing school districts to grant property tax exemptions to veterans, New York is essentially pitting taxpayers against each other and sticking school boards with making the call.

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